At the eighth and final P.League + regular season game between the two ASEAN Basketball League rivals, the Taipei Fubon Braves emerged the victors with a 110-106 win over the Formosa Taishin Dreamers at the Taipei Heping Gymnasium last Sunday.
You can catch the full game here.
Both teams came into the game on good form having won their games on Saturday.
The Dreamers defeated the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers 99-91 thanks to another incredible 32-point performance from Lin Chun-Chi while the Braves comfortably defeated the Taoyuan Pilots 109-93 led by Charles Garcia’s 31 points and 16 rebounds.
Sunday’s game was billed as the final showdown between two legends of Taiwanese basketball, Tien Lei of the Dreamers and the Braves’ ‘Beast’ Lin-Chih Chieh.
Earlier this month, the 37 year old Tien Lei announced that the inaugural P.League+ 2020/2021 season would be his final professional basketball season. A three-time Taiwan SBL MVP, Tien Lei had an illustrious 18-year career, playing in both Chinese Taipei and China.
It was none other than Tien Lei who got the game going, with a three pointer, drawing applause from the entire gymnasium.
At the 8:30 mark, Tien Lei once again brought the arena to their feet, faking Ihor Zaytsev before calmly sinking a step back three pointer.
Inspired by Tien Lei’s contribution, the Dreamers took control of the first quarter, leading by as high as 16, led by Wu Sung Wei’s perfect 4/4 from beyond the arc.
Not be to outshined, the Brave’s very own three-point specialist Chien Wei-Ju served up a scoring run on his own, scoring eight points from his team’s late quarter 10-0 run to reduce the Dreamers lead to six at the end of the quarter.
The Braves kept up the momentum from the beginning of the second quarter, with a Lai Ting-En basket starting 10-2 run to give the home team their first lead of the game at the 8:28 mark.
The Dreamers kept things close and responded through Wu Sung Wei’s fifth triple of the game to tie the game 38 apiece with 6:55 remaining.
The game remained close for the rest of the quarter but it was the Braves once again, closing the quarter on a scoring run to retake the lead. An Ihor Zaystev dunk sparked a 7-0 run that made it a Braves 56-52 lead going into the break.
Despite losing Lin Chun-Chi to injury early in the third quarter, baskets from Jerran Young and big man Wang Po-Chih quickly restored the Dreamer’s lead and sparked a back-and-forth quarter that saw nine lead changes.
Wu Sung Wei’s sixth three pointer and an astounding put back dunk by Jerran Young created some separation for the Dreamers with their biggest lead of the quarter at five with four minutes remaining.
The Braves struck back, aggressively attacking the paint, and despite not making their field goals, were able to their way back into the game at the free throw line.
‘The Beast’ Lin Chih-Chieh calmly scored four free throws to eventually tie the game 82 all with 34 seconds remaining.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the quick offense of the Dreamers found an open Randall Walko in the corner who made a three pointer to make it a three-point lead.
The Dreamers had one last opportunity to extend the lead at the end of the quarter, but an Anthony Tucker layup was thwarted with an emphatic block from Charles Garcia, ensuring the Dreamers lead remained at three going into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter started in the game’s typical see saw fashion, as baskets from Ihor Zaytsev and ‘Jet’ Chang Tsung-Hsien once again restored the home team’s advantage before Anthony Tucker scored five points of his own to take it back for the visitors.
With the game tied midway through the quarter, the Braves executed a high post play to perfection as a nice pass from Ihor Zaytsev found an open Lin Meng-Hsueh who scored an easy basket to retake the lead.
The Dreamers struggled to find an answer to Zaytsev’s play in the paint as the big Ukrainian bulldozed his way through inside, eventually increasing the Braves lead to eight with 4:20 to go.
A pair of free throws from Randall Walko and a pull up three from Anthony Tucker reduced the lead to three with two minutes remaining.
Despite succeeding in preventing the Braves from scoring a field goal for the rest of the game, the Dreamers weren’t able to find a way to tie the game as Anthony Tucker’s shooting form ran cold towards the end.
The Braves held on to finish the game with the 110-106 win, concluding the ‘Taiwan Tussle’ P.League + season series with a 6-2 record.
The Braves best player was Ihor Zaytsev who had a monster performance with 22 points, 24 rebounds and 6 assists. His import partner Charles Garcia had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Joseph Lin, Jet Chang Tsung-Hsien and Chien Wei-Ju each contributed 14 points.
On the Dreamers end, their top performer was Anthony Tucker who logged his first triple double of the season with 36 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Wu Sung Wei had 18 points (six three pointers) while Jerran Young finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Braves will wrap up their regular season with games against the Taoyuan Pilots on the 5th and 10th of April. The team from Taipei will play the games with no pressure, having already secure the No.1 seed position, giving them an automatic spot in the Playoffs Finals.
At the end of the weekend, the Dreamers stand second in the rankings with a 10-12 record. With a playoff spot secured, the Dreamers will target to gain home advantage for their playoff encounter against the Taoyuan Pilots as they finish up their regular season with games against the Pilots and the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers next weekend.